IPL 2018: Steve Smith steps down as Rajasthan Royals captain, to be replaced by Ajinkya Rahane

By: | Updated: March 26, 2018 3:36 PM

Australian batsman Steve Smith has stepped down as the Rajasthan Royals ahead of the 11th season of the Indian Premier League. Smith's resignation came a day after he had stepped down as Australia's skipper following the ball-tampering scandal also involving Cameron Bancroft.

steve smith, rajasthan royals, steve smith steps down, rajasthan royals captain, steve smith steps down as rr skipper, ipl 2018, steve smith ipl, indian premier league, ipl 11, ipl newsSteve Smith stepped down as Rajasthan Royals captain on Monday. (Source: IPL)

Australian batsman Steve Smith has stepped down as the Rajasthan Royals ahead of the 11th season of the Indian Premier League. Smith’s resignation came a day after he had stepped down as Australia’s skipper following the ball-tampering scandal also involving Cameron Bancroft. Smith will be replaced by India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane as RR skipper who was bought by the franchise using a Right-to-Match (RTM) card in IPL 2018 auction. David Warner may also have to step down as Sunrisers Hyderabad even though there is no official word from the franchise yet.

Speaking about Rahane’s appointment the co-owner of Rajasthan Royals, Manoj Badale said that the game is bigger than any individual. “We hold this thought close to our heart,” he said.

“We agree with Steve’s decision to step down as captain, and we are fortunate to have such a capable successor with Ajinkya Rahane. It is important that all cricket fans retain a balanced perspective on the situation,” Badale added.

The Head of Cricket at Rajasthan Royals, Zubin Bharucha said that the management has been in constant touch with the BCCI and taken their counsel. “The incident in Cape Town has certainly disturbed the cricket world. We have been in constant touch with the BCCI and taken their counsel. Furthermore we have been in regular contact with Steve,” he said.

The official statement released by the management said that Smith believes that in the current circumstances “it’s in the best interest of the Rajasthan Royals that he steps down as Captain so the team can get ready for the start of the IPL without the ongoing distractions.”

Steve Smith who led Rising Pune Supergiant to the final in the last edition of Indian Premier League, was the only player to be retained by Rajasthan Royals. The bigger question remains to be whether Steve Smith still participates in IPL as a player or not.

Smith was suspended for one Test and fined 100 per cent of his match fee after he owned up to his role in ball-tampering during Australia’s third Test against South Africa in Cape Town. Smith admitted that he along with the team’s think tank was aware of the incident.

Welcoming Rahane as the Captain of the team, Ranjit Barthakur, Executive Chairman, Rajasthan Royals, said, the Mumbai batsman has stepped up whenever needed and is the right candidate to lead the side. “Ajinkya Rahane has stepped up as a leader whenever he has been given the opportunity, be it for Team India or at Rajasthan Royals. We consider him the right candidate to lead the side this crucial season when the team is coming back to the IPL after two years. We wish him all the best,” he said.

Yesterday, the Rajasthan Royals had said in an official statement that it would await further instructions from BCCI before making any announcement. “We have been made aware of the controversy of ball tampering in the ongoing Australia – South Africa series and await further instructions from BCCI, before we make any announcement. We at Rajasthan Royals will not tolerate any actions that are unfair by definition and bring disrepute to the game of cricket. Our Zero tolerance policy applies to everyone in our team. Please bear with us,” Ranjit Barthakur, Executive Chairman, Rajasthan Royals, had said.

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